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Brea : Officials Choose Leyton to Fill Council Vacancy

From a pool of nine applicants, City Council members Friday selected longtime resident Gene Leyton to join them on the council.

Leyton, a Brea resident for almost 24 years, will fill the vacancy left by the death of Sam Cooper. Leyton, who is self-employed as president of County Financial Services, is on the Brea Foundation board of directors and is a former parks, recreation and human services commissioner.

City Council members spent four hours Friday interviewing the candidates, who included Cooper’s wife and two planning commissioners.

Diana Cooper said earlier this week that she applied for the position to “finish up” what her husband had started. “Sam cared about people. We were a team. And I know Sam would want me to continue his work, which I have pledged to do,” she said.

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Mayor Clarice Blamer said: “It was a hard selection because all of the applicants were concerned about their city.”

Other applicants for the job were Planning Commissioners David Behoteguy and Suseela Neti; Richard Collender, an attorney and Brea Foundation member; Sandy DeMarco, a parks, recreation and human services commissioner; Louis L. Knappenberger, a consultant and a former police officer; Wade Mansur, a speech pathologist and a Brea Foundation member, and Dick Russell, a certified public accountant.

In other business, the City Council earlier this week voted to extend Blamer’s term as mayor for another six months.

Cooper, who was mayor pro tem when he died Nov. 6, was expected to become the new mayor this week for the coming year. John Sutton, who was appointed mayor pro tem after Cooper’s death, said the mayor’s position is a full-time job, and he plans to retire in six months. Sutton asked his colleagues Tuesday night to extend Blamer’s term for six months.

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